Saturday, July 1, 2017

Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown

Watch Me Disappear
by Janelle Brown

My rating: 3 stars

Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0812989465
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau (July 11, 2017)
Genre: Women's Fiction
Print Length: 369 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Who you want people to be makes you blind to who they really are.

It’s been a year since Billie Flanagan—a Berkeley mom with an enviable life—went on a solo hike in Desolation Wilderness and vanished from the trail. Her body was never found, just a shattered cellphone and a solitary hiking boot. Her husband and teenage daughter have been coping with Billie’s death the best they can: Jonathan drinks as he works on a loving memoir about his marriage; Olive grows remote, from both her father and her friends at the all-girls school she attends.

But then Olive starts having strange visions of her mother, still alive. Jonathan worries about Olive’s emotional stability, until he starts unearthing secrets from Billie’s past that bring into question everything he thought he understood about his wife. Who was the woman he knew as Billie Flanagan?

Together, Olive and Jonathan embark on a quest for the truth—about Billie, but also about themselves, learning, in the process, about all the ways that love can distort what we choose to see. Janelle Brown’s insights into the dynamics of intimate relationships will make you question the stories you tell yourself about the people you love, while her nervy storytelling will keep you guessing until the very last page.

 Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown

Watch Me DisappearShe was a trickster, a chameleon, a con artist of the heart. Did anyone ever really know Billie? Now presumed dead, Billie has left behind a grieving husband and child, each caught up in their own personal Hell, neither able to quite break through the walls to support each other in their greatest time of need.

Olive lived with the survivor’s guilt of being a normal teen, left midway in her quest to be an independent person by a mother whom she never felt she quite lived up to and now she is having “visions” of seeing her mother living a different life, alive and no one will believe her.

Jonathan must “prove’ his wife is dead through the courts in order to collect much needed insurance money. Billie was his heart, the spark that made their family burn bright, or was she? Together with Olive, Jonathan, while unable to connect with his daughter begins a journey into discovering who and what the woman who left them behind really was. What they discover is not the picture they need for their hearts, but a woman who lived life by her own rules, consequences be damned.

Was she the ultimate free spirit or was she a selfish individual who hid her indiscretions, built false images that her child could not live up to and didn’t have the integrity to face her own lies head on. Was she even capable of love of others?

WATCH ME DISAPPEAR by Janelle Brown is dark, gritty and at times, painful to slog through as a husband and daughter discover the secrets one woman kept hidden under the rug. It is a sour tale of families failing to nurture one another and being fooled into the ease of ignoring the truth of their lives.

I failed to connect with the husband who was more concerned with infidelities than his own daughter’s floundering in her own feelings of inadequacy caused by her mother’s expectations and verbalized disappointments. Dark and brooding, this read was too slow and even the mystery of “Billie” wasn’t enough to make me believe in this tale.

I received an ARC edition from Random House Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review.

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